Population Pharmacokinetic Analysis for Model-Based Therapeutic Drug Monitoring of Tacrolimus in Chinese Han Heart Transplant Patients

Background and objective:

Tacrolimus has become the first-line immunosuppressant for preventing rejection after heart transplantation. The present study aimed to investigate genetic variants and clinical factors affecting the variability of tacrolimus in Chinese Han heart transplant patients using a population pharmacokinetic approach.


The retrospective study included 53 hospitalized patients with 547 tacrolimus concentrations for analysis. Nonlinear mixed-effects modeling was used to develop the population pharmacokinetics model for tacrolimus in patients with heart transplants, followed by Monte Carlo simulations to design initial dosing regimens.


In our study, the mutation rate of CYP3A4*18B (C>T) was 27.36%. An oral one-compartment model with first-order absorption and elimination was used to describe the pharmacokinetics of tacrolimus in heart transplant patients. In the final model, the estimated apparent clearance (CL/F) and volume of distribution (V/F) were 532.5 L/h [12.20% interindividual variability, IIV] and 16.87 L (23.16% IIV), respectively. Albumin, postoperative time, and rs2242480 (CYP3A4*18B) gene polymorphisms were the significant covariates affecting CL/F, and creatinine clearance had significant effects on the V/F.


The population pharmacokinetic model of tacrolimus in heart transplant patients can better estimate the population and individual pharmacokinetic parameters of patients and can provide a reference for the design of individualized dosing regimens.

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